man alone in parking lot grayscale symbolic loneliness

There’s not much need to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone has heard about it ad infinitum. Perhaps the biggest challenge of the pandemic was not just the fear of spreading it or taking ill, but simply adhering to the guidelines and staying socially distant or quarantined depending on where you live.

As a center that provides addiction treatment in Nashville and GA, we couldn’t help but look at the pandemic in terms of how it would affect people’s sobriety, mental state, and recovery. Here are 4 things that quarantine, and social isolation have highlighted about sobriety.

#1 – Addiction Thrives off Fear and Isolation

During the beginning weeks and months of the pandemic when most places experienced the tightest shutdowns, people were still coming to grips with this new reality. The new normal was strange, surreal, stressful, and most importantly uncertain. Uncertainty is a major anxiety trigger for many people, and that’s not to say the prior feelings listed are not either.

During those first few months, underlying substance use issues in many individuals hit new breaking points. For those who were on the cusp of problematic drinking habits or drug use, the stress, fear, and isolation of quarantine pushed them into substance use disorder territory.

Counselors, addiction treatment specialists, psychologists, all knew that fear and social isolation go hand in hand in creating the ideal circumstances for addiction to flourish. If anyone was uncertain, the stress of quarantine cleared that up.

#2 – Managing Your Mental Health is Key to Avoiding Relapse during Quarantine

Quarantine was like a pressure cooker that was slowly building up pressure. Those who have been in active recovery may have truly seen the interdependent nature of their addiction and how they are faring mentally. It is something we stress time and time again to our patients receiving addiction treatment in Nashville or Georgia, addiction is comorbid with mental health disorders.

Relapse is all about recognizing and seeing that pressure cooker for what it is. If you can recognize that things are difficult, you can acknowledge that fact and move on. Those who fail to identify their own relapse triggers, as well the build-up of stress, risk being blindsided by relapse.

#3 – Relapse is Not the End of Your Journey, but a Bump on the Road

Relapse is like hitting a bump on the road and getting flung from your horse. You may have been hurt from the fall, but your horse is waiting there for you and looking at you expectantly.

Get back on the horse.

That’s all that really matters. Sure, identifying what caused your relapse is critical, but first get on the horse. Even the best of people can experience relapse. During these difficult times, many notable public figures who have been sober for 5, 10, 15, 20 years even have come out and spoken about relapsing during the pandemic.

#4 – The Importance of Being Adaptable in Your Recovery During Quarantine

Once lockdown hit, how many people suddenly found themselves taken away from the things they took for granted? Things that helped them relax, things that helped them feel socially accepted and loved, things that made them happy?

No more classes. No more eating out at restaurants. No more sports at the park. No more beach days. No more goofing off at the mall. Whatever your “thing” was, chances are it was temporarily stripped away, leaving you wondering what there was to be done.

Initially, everyone treated it as a staycation and felt that the virus would blow over soon enough. As the reality sunk in that this pandemic was simply not going to go away with a few weeks of quarantine, people became increasingly depressed, anxious, and pent up.

Some floundered and some succeeded, but regardless of which more closely matches your experience, quarantine has made even more clear that your own happiness and satisfaction are in your hands. You can’t always help being landed in a difficult situation, but what you choose to make of it can greatly impact your mind’s reaction to it.

Choosing to focus on the things that were taken away only leaves you feeling sour and depressed. Being proactive about what you can do to enjoy today, busy yourself with today, is the key to a lasting recovery.

Addiction Treatment Nashville, TN

Visit Southeast Addiction for addiction treatment in Nashville, TN, as well as in Georgia in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Whether it is you or a loved one who has been struggling with addiction, we know that the past year has not been an easy one.

Contact us to take the next step on your path to recovery.